Seeing clearly in IELTS Task 1

It is clearly seen that unemployment fell gradually throughout the period.

This is like a supermarket putting a sign next to some peanuts saying “This product contains peanuts.”

Notice that there is no preposition after ‘contains’ in “This product contains peanuts.”

Ok so this writer added an extra 5 words to his word count. However, this kind of ‘signal’ doesn’t really add to the quality of the writing.

Here are some situations when a feature on an IELTS question paper might NOT be clearly seen:

  • It’s too dark in the room.
  • Your exam paper is upside down.
  • There’s a large insect crawling across your exam paper.
  • You drank too much alcohol before the exam.
  • You have a bag on your head.

The truth is that ALL of the features on EVERY IELTS paper are clearly seen. Remember that when considering what score to award, the examiner decides on a band score based how well you describe the features of the graph, table, chart or diagram that exist in THAT particular graph, table, chart or diagram. If you include description that can apply to ANY graph, table, chart or diagram, then you may lose marks!

Let’s say you see this:

Population in Tokyo
Unemployment 1975-2010

In this case it is true that unemployment fell gradually throughout the period, but it is redundant to say that ‘it is clearly seen’!

For higher score, try something like this:

  • Despite minor fluctuations, unemployment fell gradually throughout the period.
  • Unemployment fell gradually throughout the period, although there were minor fluctuations.
  • Apart from a brief increase somewhere around the middle of the period, unemployment fell gradually throughout the period.

These examples apply specifically to the graph we’re looking at, and not to any other graph. This is the kind of description that is likely to get you a high score in IELTS Task 1 writing.

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